So, what's been occurring?
Well, Monday saw another visit to the wonderful Jamie's Italian in Brighton, to celebrate a surprise visit from my brother and a couple of birthdays. As I was sent into complete realms of bliss by my dinner last time we visited, I plumped for the black truffle tagliatelle again. If I am brutally honest, it was not as good as the first plate I encountered, which I think was down to the fact that I was given a large portion this time, instead of the small I was expecting, and my taste buds went into overdrive. Otherwise, wonderful. Truffle number one done.
And, as promised, here are a couple of sneaky pics I took of the interior.
I particularly liked the understatement of the toilets, which had lovely swan neck arching taps instead of those rubbishy little pokey ones you usually find. Very expensive, but lovely.
The route down the stairs was also eventful, as you are confronted by a projection of a live video feed from the kitchen onto the wall in front of you. A bit gimmicky, but interesting, and I could have looked at it for hours.
So, Jamie's Italian and Monday done.
Tuesday saw me out once more for a J.O. themed evening. We went to the grand opening of the new Recipease shop, along the quieter end of Western Road in Brighton. For those of you who do not know the concept, have a look here, but to sum it up - you can go and buy a meal, you can go and make a meal to take home, or you can be taught how to make something at the mini cookery school. Excellent concept, and I hope it does encourage people to learn new skills. We are due to go to the pasta making school soon, so I'll keep you posted.
Mr Oliver was there for the opening, and seemed an extremely pleasant sort of bloke. I did not get a chance to speak to him directly, as he was the proverbial honey pot surrounded by the bees. The good people of Brighton made a wonderful job of keeping him occupied for the duration of his stay with chats, photos and autographs, so we wandered around, drank nice red wine, and ate some wonderful Italian styled tapasy bits.
Wednesday? Gardeners' World Live of course. Smaller than last year, the show has really visibly shrunk, with the Good Food element massively dominating the interior Halls. Equally, the Floral Marquee seemed much thinner on the ground, with the nurseries enjoying very comfortable 'personal space' between one another, and two large central areas being occupied by an Orchid Stage and a Rose stage. This did not detract however from the wonderful displays.
The show gardens - again, a very mixed bag. Some had interesting bits and bobs, not many tickled the wow buds too much and construction, once again, seemed to be the stumbling block for many. Generally, a good display but nothing too extraordinary, although the Highways Agency garden by Marney Hall was bang on.
Met up again with the wonderful James Alexander-Sinclair, and eternally elegant Nina Acton of the Three Counties Showground, and (with many others) enjoyed a lovely day. Dinner was not so lovely, as the service station called, lest we run out of petrol on the way home.
Thursday, thank heavens, was a regular day. Truffle number two arrived, in the guise of my own pasta concoction, which was nowhere near the J.O. offering. The fact that my truffle oil is so precious to me that I tend never to use it, therefore it is probably at least a year or two old probably had a lot to do with it.
Friday saw the third and final of the truffles in this week long hunt. Out for dinner once more to celebrate another birthday, we went to the Ginger Fox - a beautiful country pub restaurant at the foot of the South Downs.
One of the 'Ginger' chain in Brighton, the group are famed for their high quality, organic and locally sourced produce, served with surprise and high elegance. Right up my street, and to say I was looking forward to the visit was the understatement of the day.
My dinner was beautiful - Wild Boar Terrine, followed by Summer Truffle Arancini, topped off with a trio of chocolate and blueberries (blueberry jelly / white chocolate and blueberry mousse / hot chocolate fondant with blueberry ice cream) All washed down with a pint of country perry and some very lovely red wine. Truffle number three - completed.
So - a good week., filled with friends, family, celebrations and very good food, and I was only rained on once. Can't be bad eh?